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Military police helicopter crashes in France

A French helicopter has gone down in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border with four Gendarmerie members on board, officials said. All four officers were killed.

The aircraft was conducting a training exercise when it hit a cliff face in the mountainous area near Cauterets, southwestern France, authorities said on Friday.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known, according to a statement from the French Interior Ministry.

France's National Gendarmerie, a military police unit, said that the crash killed four of its members. The casualties reportedly included the helicopter's pilot and co-pilot, as well as two mountain rescue specialists.

An emergency response team has located the debris in the remote mountainous region not far from the Spanish border.

Local authorities for the Hautes-Pyrenees region said that a crisis cell was set up after the deadly crash.

"The prefecture shares the pain of the families and those who were close to the victims," they said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, expected at the scene later Friday, expressed his "infinite sadness" over the crash.

dj/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)